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DebInAntigua

Has anyone gotten cellulitis from cruise pools?

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I recently dealt with two serious bouts of cellulitis after being stung by insects in our garden. (3 weeks apart). The first incident landed me in the hospital for 5 nights on IV antibiotics. The second took 10 daily intramuscular antibiotic shots to clear. 
 

We’re going on a cruise in about 3 weeks and I’m pretty sure I’ll be avoiding the hot tubs and ocean water entirely. I’m less sure about whether to avoid the pools as well. 
 

Has anyone here ever heard of infections from swimming in a pool on a cruise? Or do they chlorinate them to the max? Will be on Celebrity if that matters. 

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Here's a link from the CDC:

Chlorine (in swimming pools and hot tubs) kills the germs that cause RWIs, but the time it takes to kill each germ varies. ... However, chlorine takes longer to kill some germs, such as Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium). Crypto can survive for days even in a properly disinfected pool.

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I would suggest seeking advice from your physician regarding your concerns.  They would be in a position to best know of your particular health situation and what activities to avoid on your cruise.  The last thing you would want would be to risk aggravating a condition or becoming ill out of the country on a cruise ship.

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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1 minute ago, leaveitallbehind said:

I would suggest seeking advice from your physician regarding your concerns.

TOTALLY agree.  That's why the most I'll ever do is link to something like CDC or Mayo Clinic.  But one's physician is the one to properly advise.

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I believe that the pools on Celebrity are salt water, not fresh water.  You don't generally add chlorine to a salt water pool, but hopefully someone more knowledgeable that I will comment here.

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1 hour ago, DebInAntigua said:

I recently dealt with two serious bouts of cellulitis after being stung by insects in our garden. (3 weeks apart). The first incident landed me in the hospital for 5 nights on IV antibiotics. The second took 10 daily intramuscular antibiotic shots to clear. 
 

We’re going on a cruise in about 3 weeks and I’m pretty sure I’ll be avoiding the hot tubs and ocean water entirely. I’m less sure about whether to avoid the pools as well. 
 

Has anyone here ever heard of infections from swimming in a pool on a cruise? Or do they chlorinate them to the max? Will be on Celebrity if that matters. 

Having seen partially intoxicated beer drinkers, barely toilet-trained toddlers, and fairly grubby sorts of varying descriptions in pools and hot tubs on cruise ships,  I would not rule out the possibility of picking up any sort of parasitic, bacterial, or viral “guest” on a dip.  

 

I sm not sure why you would avoid ocean water (assuming you are talking about other than in a pool of hot tub); the salinity, exposure to sunlight, an massive dilution means that ocean swimming is perhaps the safest,

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3 hours ago, DebInAntigua said:

I recently dealt with two serious bouts of cellulitis after being stung by insects in our garden. (3 weeks apart). The first incident landed me in the hospital for 5 nights on IV antibiotics. The second took 10 daily intramuscular antibiotic shots to clear. 
 

We’re going on a cruise in about 3 weeks and I’m pretty sure I’ll be avoiding the hot tubs and ocean water entirely. I’m less sure about whether to avoid the pools as well. 
 

Has anyone here ever heard of infections from swimming in a pool on a cruise? Or do they chlorinate them to the max? Will be on Celebrity if that matters. 

I developed two serious bouts of cellulitis last year possibly from insect bites.My doctor told me to wear long pants,no shorts when outside and if possible long sleeve shirts.I will likely be the only one not wearing shorts when I will be in the Caribbean on my cruise that leaves Saturday but the Cellulitis was so bad I do not want to take a chance. My doctor wanted to put me in the hospital to be on antibiotics but because of my disabilities it would be very difficult for me to be in a hospital.Instead he put me on two antibiotics that I took together.They literally knocked me out.

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Ocean water is considered good for your health and skin on Barbados for example. But follow your doctor's advice. If you own lightweight and loose cotton or linen clothing, wear it. It's cool and airy.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Floridiana said:

Ocean water is considered good for your health and skin on Barbados for example

I try to strongly avoid discussions like this but there are beaches that are being closed due to flesh-eating bacteria.  In addition the seas get a lot of 'stuff' dumped in it.  

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13 minutes ago, clo said:

I try to strongly avoid discussions like this but there are beaches that are being closed due to flesh-eating bacteria.  In addition the seas get a lot of 'stuff' dumped in it.  

The last time I was in ocean water was 1973 in Bermuda.The last time I was in a pool was 1986 in PA.

The town that I live in has a huge outdoor pool ,possibly the largest in the county.It is beautiful to look at but people tell me they saw geese swimming there at night.

 

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Goodness that sounds horrible. I agree, I would ask my doctor and even if they gave me the green light, I would have serious reservations.

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I cannot answer your question with specific regard to the pools, sorry.  But I did want to share my experience as a warning. 

 

I received an injury to my lower leg in a car accident some years ago that caused lasting (unseen) damage to the tissue.  For whatever reason, the area is now very susceptible to cellulitis, I had it 5-6 times over the next couple of years (once you've had it, you become prone to recurrence).  I must be extremely careful with any cuts or breaks in the skin, particularly on that foot (though bacteria can enter your body anywhere since it's always present on your skin).  The worst, most aggressive case I ever had *by-a-mile* was on a cruise ship.  I mean, it was terrible!  I became pretty sick, fever and all.  Sought care from the infirmary, was really scared they were going to put me off the ship!  Thankfully, they didn't.  Doc gave me an injection and oral antibiotics, required me to come back in 2 days for follow-up.  Anyway, I had not been in the pools nor in the ocean.  Fairly certain I picked the bacteria up just walking on my cabin carpet, it's the only place I went barefoot.  I have since learned how to better protect myself (always wear shoes, incl flip flops indoors) and how to properly care for breaks in my skin (immediate disinfection, antibacterial ointment, then cover it).  Diligence in these two areas has kept me cellulitis-free ever since.

 

Your case sounds more severe than mine, I never actually landed in hospital over it.  And obviously your doctor is the one to best advise you about this.  I just wanted to caution you to take care everywhere -- even in your cabin, including in the shower, if you are sensitive to bacteria.  Not trying to scare you.  I travel with peace of mind, all the time, have a cruise coming up in January.  I just use caution and listen to my body.  If you seen the signs, don't wait, seek treatment immediately (even after hours - I made the mistake of waiting until morning... stupid!).  Best wishes for your safe travels!

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6 minutes ago, Ren1216 said:

Best wishes for your safe travels!

Your post is one of the best I've ever seen anywhere.  Thank you so much for sharing your story.  Best of luck to you also.

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15 hours ago, CruisingAlong4Now said:

I believe that the pools on Celebrity are salt water, not fresh water.  You don't generally add chlorine to a salt water pool, but hopefully someone more knowledgeable that I will comment here.

This is not quite correct for cruise ship pools.  Any time the ship is within 12 miles of shore, the pool, whether fresh water or salt water, must be placed in "recirculation mode", where the water is recirculated through filters, or drained.  When in recirculation mode, all ship's pools, whether salt or fresh water, must be chlorinated.  The only time a ship's pool can be unchlorinated is if the ship is outside of 12 miles from shore, and a salt water pool is placed in "flow through" mode, where the sea water is continually pumped into the pool, and the overflow returns to the sea.  While ships with salt water pools can do this, when changing from flow through to recirculation, it takes a couple of hours to stabilize the chlorine levels, and the pools would need to be closed during this time, so ships generally only switch to flow through if there are more than one sea day in a row, to lessen the pool closings.

 

Cellulitis is generally caused by staph bacteria, not crypto.

Edited by chengkp75

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If you have a severe skin condition (and it sounds as if you do), you should avoid the pools and the ocean anywhere.  Talk to your doctor and follow his/her recommendations.

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19 minutes ago, cb at sea said:

If you have a severe skin condition (and it sounds as if you do), you should avoid the pools and the ocean anywhere.  Talk to your doctor and follow his/her recommendations.


I don’t have a chronic skin condition of any kind. But in late August an unknown insect stung me (hurt like hell, but no idea what it was) and that became terribly infected with cellulitis. As luck would have it, in September I was sitting by our garden and got stung in the leg by a honeybee. That also became horribly infected. 

 

I’m fine now and off antibiotics, but naturally worried that I seem to have become very susceptible to cellulitis. We sail in a few weeks so my immune system will likely not be back to normal. I’ve been on some very heavy duty antibiotics over the last two months. 

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3 minutes ago, DebInAntigua said:

 

I really hope this wasn't directed at me. Talk about belittling my recent medical experiences and legitimate wish to avoid a repeat infection.

 

Five nights in a hospital in Guatemala City receiving heavy duty antibiotics by IV for the first round of cellulitis, followed by 5 days of oral antibiotics once I was released.

Ten days of IM injected antibiotics for the second round of cellulitis, concurrently with 15 days of oral antibiotics (which all just ended last week).

I hardly think I'm over-reacting by being cautious about potential sources of infection in the next few weeks as my body recovers its strength.

Overreacting?  Only you can make that determination.  But Cellulitis can occur from even the smallest cut, scrape or abrasion.  Perhaps, for some strange reason, you are very susceptible to cellulitis and should avoid pools, spas, lakes, the sea, and of course soil (dirt) which contains all kinds of very nasty bacteria.   You might also want to Google "MRSA" which is an eye opening issue for those not familiar.  

 

As to your pool issue, there is a poster here on CC who has spent much of his life as an Engineer and Chief Engineer on ships (including cruise ships).  When asked about pools and spas on ships he once posted information on all the precautions and steps taken to keep the water safe.  But he also admitted that he won't go in the pool :).

 

Hank

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41 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

And finally, we think you should Google "panophobia" and where one can find treatment.

 

I think it can be very trying to go through life worried about everything bad that could happen.  Some of us prefer to put that stuff out of our minds and live life to its fullest.  

 

Hank

While I agree with you that people should live their lives to the fullest, I would add the words “within reason”. Respectfully, I believe that the panophobia comment was a bit unfair. 
 

In my humble opinion, the OP isn’t being paranoid or unnecessarily concerned. After what she went through, I think that her concerns are beyond legitimate and warranted. 
 

A few weeks ago, I would’ve never clicked on this thread. I was a very healthy 40 something with zero medical concerns. Unfortunately I was in an accident while riding my bicycle which landed me at the hospital with traumatic injuries to my right leg. 
 

Thankfully I’m on the path to recovery, but now I have a list of precautions that I must take to avoid infections and an unplanned trip back to the hospital. And some of the concerns include celulitis. Like the OP, I’ve been advised against going in pools as well as the ocean. Are you kidding me??

 

I would love to “put that stuff out of my

mind” as you recommended, but respectfully under the circumstances I believe that it would be ill conceived advice, not only for me but for the OP as well. 

Edited by Tapi

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12 hours ago, clo said:

I try to strongly avoid discussions like this but there are beaches that are being closed due to flesh-eating bacteria.  In addition the seas get a lot of 'stuff' dumped in it.  


Definitely nobody should get into lakes, the ocean, or pools with an open wound.  I believe that has been the way the bacteria has gotten into the bodies of many of those people who came down with the flesh-eating bacteria.  It's good practice to always make sure wounds and bites are cleaned properly. Open wounds should be covered at all times.

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

I think it can be very trying to go through life worried about everything bad that could happen.  Some of us prefer to put that stuff out of our minds and live life to its fullest.  

 

And I do.  Remember, I''m the one who drinks tap water almost everywhere in the world.  But OP has an issue so I thought the advice to possibly try the ocean was a bit not okay.  I have a ton of medical background and that's why I don't usually get into these convos except to refer to reputable links.

Edited by clo

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3 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

23 responses with questionable medical advice that could have been avoided with a single question from OP to her Dr.

Weird.

I was on a food site and it happened regularly.

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DH has had recurring bouts with cellulitis since 2007. It's traced to an injury he received in 1980 when he slipped in the attic and fell, straddling a ceiling beam (ouch😮). It always manifests itself in his left leg; the last time was during a Mediterranean cruise in 2016 on our last port day of an extremely port-intensive cruise. He was in the ship pool exactly once on the cruise, and he's never had a problem with pools, hot tubs or the ocean on any other cruise. He thinks he just tried to do too much with all the ports on the Med cruise and became susceptible to the infection.

 

I agree with the recommendation to talk to your doctor. DH has a prescription antibacterial soap he uses for his leg, and before we travel his doctor prescribes a Z-pack to take with him in case the cellulitis rears its ugly head on a trip. 

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3 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

23 responses with questionable medical advice that could have been avoided with a single question from OP to her Dr.

Weird.

But OP did NOT ask for medical advice. They asked for experiences on a cruise. Notice no one has experienced the problem from a cruise ship water source in spite of all the warnings of how awful and unsanitary they are. People just started making up their own medical advice.

I would guess that first hand experience would be as informative as a Guatemalan physician

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